Arlene is a Independant Beachbody Coach.
If you’ve stumbled across this page, I want to start by thanking you for taking the time to read my story. I’ve found that hearing other people’s stories has humbled me, as well as helped me learn how to get through the struggles life brings. We can each relate to the emotions we feel, even when our paths and experiences are different. So this is why I share mine. To hopefully help someone. To help you, maybe. I hope that in sharing my journey I can hear your story too, or that you’ll have the courage to someday share yours with someone. You are unique and your story can help others, too.
I was born and raised in Michigan just outside of the Detroit area to a loving mother and father. I had an amazing childhood full of love and family trips. I was the oldest of three and life was great. When I was seven years old, my family’s path of life changed forever when we got a call that my father had been in a terrible accident. I remember that day clearer than any day of my childhood. I recall deciding to go to the hospital with my mom despite the fear I saw in everyone’s eyes. My siblings stayed home. I remember sitting in the middle seat in the back of the car on what seemed like the longest drive to the hospital, rain pouring down on the cement. It was just starting to get dark. I recall sitting on my uncle’s lap, waiting for a nurse or doctor to come into a private waiting room on the news. Did he make it? How is he? What happened? My mom wanted to go and identify him. I remember her coming back and all of us bursting into tears. Holding each other, like that was all we had left to grasp. Nothing makes life stop or feel so precious when you lose someone that close to you.
Heaven gained another angel that day. Not long after that did I decide I wanted to be a role model for my younger siblings; the other parent. I wanted to be the one who didn’t make mistakes. I wanted to show my brother and sister what it took to work hard, follow the rules, and do something with their lives. I’m not sure how or why this came over me, but I’m glad I decided to strive for that role at such a young age.
Despite such a tragedy, life went on. Gymnastics soon became my saving grace; my identity, my chance to prove to everyone that I could be successful. I never worked so hard for something once I knew I could possibly get a college gymnastics scholarship. At times I also paid the price of being a perfectionist: I cried uncontrollably when I couldn’t complete assignments or failed at skills. During my high school years I’d practice four to five hours a day, five days a week. Sometimes I went in early for private practices. I always signed up for the extra strength and conditioning practice in the summers, adding three more hours a week to my load. Competitive gymnastics is a year-round sport requiring more hours in the summers (our off season). I was blessed and beyond ecstatic to be signed onto a team with a full ride scholarship during my junior year of high school.
However, my self love was tested when gymnastics was taken from me sooner than I thought it’d be. The one thing that I put all of my thoughts and efforts into my whole life, to show everyone that I could work hard, was gone. I was gone. It felt like a part of me died. I felt like a huge failure and disappointment to my friends and family. I was more embarrassed than a student sitting alone at a lunch table. How could I explain to someone what and how this happened? It sounds exaggerated now, but that is how I truly felt at the time. I suddenly didn’t know who I was without the sport. Crying myself to sleep many nights after that day became a common scene. I was overwhelmed by the thought of just introducing myself to someone. I could no longer happily say “Hi, I’m Arlene and I’m a gymnast.”
I thought I had it all together when I put my gymnastics efforts into my teaching career. Since I still had three years left of college to earn my Masters degree once I got cut from my team, I decided to stay at the school I was at. This was difficult since I decided to go to school six hours away from home. Mind you, I was also in a long distance relationship, so I could’ve easily moved to his school or closer to home. But with transferring credits it would’ve been way more difficult and more expensive that it was already going to be. So that void was still there – all around me. I’d go to watch gymnastics meets secretly in a corner by myself, leaving early before the awards ceremony, crying my way back to my apartment, wishing I could be out there. So I filled my time with making friends in my teaching program as well as being involved in extra curricular activities with teaching and getting a part-time job as a tutor. I graduated college smoothly with top honors and got a teaching position in third grade that same year in the fall.
Teaching tested my every ability – mentally and physically. I had no idea how hard it was going to be for me as a perfectionist to overcome the feeling of never getting everything done. Never feeling 100% prepared for all of the ins and outs of teaching. This caused a lot of anxiety my first year in the real world. It wasn’t until this time however, about four years after being cut from the gymnastics team, that my identity started to unfold. I decided to do a round of P90X with my now husband, Cody. I had gained about 10 pounds since I left the sport and teaching was draining me. I felt lethargic, stressed, poor digestion, exhaustion, and I couldn’t sleep well. I quickly lost the 10 pounds I had gained and built strong muscle. I felt so ALIVE again! Working out made me feel like I won every time, even when teaching didn’t bring me that. Eventually I felt a calling to start sharing my love for fitness and food on another instagram account, hoping to inspire others as well as hold myself accountable. When I heard that my friend Emily from college had decided to join a company where she could be my own boss while helping others on their health and fitness journeys, it inspired me to do the same. It wasn’t just her that got me started – God did too. While I was going through another tough personal time in 2017, I read somewhere that helping share your passion with others will help you rise up too. And I haven’t looked back since.
I used to feel like a failure…I used to think I had to do everything perfectly.
But now I am growing into a strong, confident, and empowered young woman, all because of God, the workout programs I’ve done, and the positive, uplifting community behind it all in the company I have joined.
I’ve been with the company since April of 2017 and I’ve loved every minute of it! I’m in my fifth year of teaching and I’m so glad I have this company in my life, now.
My story is still being written because life is a journey, not a destination. Now tell me, what’s your story? Do you feel stuck in some way too?
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